When you think of Rolex, the immediate suspects always come to mind. On the right, you have your classic dress pieces such as the Datejust and Day-Date and on the left the ever-popular sports models such as the Submariner, GMT-Master and Daytona. For a long time, the Rolex Yacht-Master was the unloved and unappreciated model of the Crown’s lineup, perhaps because they weren’t that attractive to begin with. This was the case until 2015- when Rolex decided to revamp the model.
When the newly revamped Yacht-Master was first announced, the entire watch world came to a screeching halt (at least I thought it did, for a short while). As you may or may not know, Rolex is a hugely conservative brand and they have become known more for evolution rather than revolution, slowly tinkering and improving their watches over decades of research and development. In fact, for example, with all things considered, a Submariner today looks pretty damn similar to the first-ever Submariner released in the ’50s with its black bezel, black dial and stainless steel case.
Coming back to the Yacht-Master though, the watch showcases a 40mm case crafted from 904L stainless steel. It is accompanied by an 18-carat Everose gold bezel, resulting in a captivating two-tone combination Rolex aptly calls "Everose Rolesor," referring to the fusion of steel and one type of precious metal. The case is also mirror-polished to a brilliant shine, creating a striking yet harmonious visual interplay with the 18-carat Everose gold bezel and the two-tone Oyster bracelet it's paired with.
Moving to the dial, the Ref. 126621 follows a familiar layout, featuring a bold black background with the 'Yacht-Master' text highlighted in vibrant red. Its hour markers are filled with Rolex’s proprietary Chromalight material for luminous visibility in low-light conditions, and there's a practical date window positioned at 3 o'clock for added functionality.
Powering the Yacht-Master from within is Rolex’s very own ever-so-reliable automatic Cal. 3135, which features COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres) certification and an anti-magnetic Parachrom Bleu hairspring. In terms of power reserve, the Cal. 3135 can hold a maximum capacity of 48 hours when fully wound. While Rolex movements may not be known for their high-level finishing, you can be confident that you are getting one of the most dependable in-house movements ever made.
In contrast to its more utilitarian siblings like the Submariner and Sea-Dweller, Rolex has given the Yacht-Master a transformation which elevated it into the realm of a luxury sports watch, and for good reason. This feeling is further accentuated by its distinctive two-tone composition, where the 904L stainless steel and 18-carat Everose gold are juxtaposed in an aesthetically appealing manner. In my view, the Yacht-Master had always been somewhat of an underdog within the Rolex lineup for a considerable period, but it is clearly undergoing a process of notable transformation, gradually but steadily earning the recognition it merits.